The staff was honored with a Spartan Award from the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association. This honor came after the publication earned a ninth place finish for newsmagazines in the Best of Show competition at the Journalism Education Association/National Scholastic Press Association Spring Convention in Seattle, Wash.
In winning the Spartan Award, the Blade scored 955 out of a possible 1,000 points in a comprehensive evaluation of three editions of its paper. The evaluation covered writing, editing, coverage, design, photography and leadership. The score is the paper’s highest since 2007. This is the 22nd time in the past 25 years that the Blade has earned a Spartan, the highest honor the association bestows on an individual publication.
“I’ve judged newspapers across the nation and Bucs’ Blade ranks up there with the best high school papers in the country,” said the judge in the closing comments.
Bucs’ Blade adviser C.E. Sikkenga praised the young Blade staff for its willingness to expand its horizons.
“It’s a great testament to this staff,” Sikkenga said. “We graduated maybe the most distinguished group of seniors we’ve ever had last spring, so we were working a lot of new kids into leadership roles. They didn’t just do the same-old, same-old. They pushed to innovate and not only cover tough stories but to present them in ways that are totally different than anything we’ve done before.”
In addition to the staff awards, 13 Blade staffers combined to win 25 individual awards.
Taking home first place awards were senior John Cherette (In Depth Feature), junior Dustin Chrysler (Illustration), senior Scott Staal (Sports Feature) and senior Lucas Wilder and junior Samantha Van Hoef (News Page/Spread). Second Place winners included Van Hoef with junior Emma Baty (In Depth Feature) and the Blade Staff (Editorial). Third Place winners included Cherette (Human Interest Feature), Staal ( Personal Narrative ) Van Hoef (Sports News Story), Wilder (Story Package) and Baty (Sports Action Photo).
“Its great that we were able to take our paper to a national convention and earn some recognition,” Sikkenga said. “That sort of puts our name on the map and lets top J-Schools know our name. If our kids apply to these schools, it can’t hurt to be able to say they came from a national award-winning program.”